Friday, 22 June 2012

Building up my Portfolio on Behance

A quick post to let everyone know I'm uploading a lot of my past and present illustration and character design projects to Behance, a great FREE portfolio hosting site.

Here's the link to my portfolio.
There'll probably be a lot of my work on there that very few people have seen. I hope you like it.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Japanese Relief Print Ready to Ship

It's been a bit of a rush, and working with paper I'm not used to, which has caused it's own problems, but at last I've got my prints completed, dried, and ready to ship.
With more time I would have corrected a few things, but generally I'm happy with how it turned out.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I've used 4 blocks, but with a second impression on the light grey block in a few areas to create some shading: on the bottom edge of the lighter branch on the left, and on the blossoms.
I was using paper I'd never tried before for this print, and despite plenty of proofing I was finding it hard to get a smooth, even spread of colour in some places. It was much more textured than I'm used to.
If you look closely at the black branch, you will find the Kanji characters for 3rd Month (March) and 11th Day hidden in the design, the date of the 9.0 earthquake. The blossom pattern matches the seismic data map for the 12th March of Japan. To me, the sparrow represents the strength of character of the Japanese people in the face of such a terrible event.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Japanese Earthquake Relief Print

It's been a while since my last post; 'Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans' John Lennon wrote, and Blogging is what doesn't happen when life does.
I had to post something about the first of 2 international print projects I'm involved with this year.
The first is known by 2 names, 'Inspired by Japan' and 'Relief in Relief'. Click on the links for related web pages.
Over 60 woodblock printmakers from around the world are submitting prints to raise funds for relief efforts in Japan following the earthquakes and tsunami in March this year.

Here are the blocks for my print, 4 in all, black,mid grey, light grey and pink.

The image is inspired by traditional Japanese motifs: sumi painting, nature, cherry blossom etc, and a seismic map I spotted online which showed all the earthquakes and aftershocks in the couple of days after the 9.0 quake.

I need to proof and print my blocks next week in order to hit the deadline, so I'll post some progress reports as I go.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

'Original Print. How can that be?'

I'm sometimes asked why I refer to my prints as 'Original Woodblock Prints'. How can a print be original? Here's a great little explanation from The London Original Print Fair website.

What is an original Print?
An original print is an image produced from a surface on which the artist has worked, such as a stone or wood block or a copper plate. This surface is intended by the artist to be a stage in the creation of the artwork. Thus the original work of art in this case is the print itself rather than the block or plate, from which it is printed.

Grace Prints up on Etsy

I've got my 4 Grace prints up on Etsy at last. Here they are...

For more info, check out my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

New Print completed

I'm just about to start trimming and packaging my next print.

It's based on a simple Hiroshige print I came across in a book I have, which I reduced down and played around with in Photoshop before pasting it onto the blocks to carve. On the original print, the sparrow was printed the same red colour as the flower petals. I've changed it to something a little more 'sparrowy'.

There are 4 magnolia blocks in this print, the black key block, red, grey and one block which had the brown and deep red seal. The black and grey block are both printed with sumi ink.

The image is approx. 6x16cms (2.5x6 inches) and is one of my smallest, but most finely detailed prints to date. The edition will be around 50 or 60.

I'm pleased with the result as this was a real learning exercise for me. I wanted to do some tight, detailed work and get a really even finish to the printing of the colours.
This print has taken me some way up that very long and interesting path.

I'll be doing more prints which are based on Japanese images in the future (how better to learn the process than by following the experts?) but for now, I want to create some new designs based on the landscape and wildlife around my home town in the Ribble Valley. The public response I've got from prints based on my own designs as opposed to 're-creations' of old images has given me the confidence to work on my own ideas.
My re-working of existing images, mainly from old Japanese woodblock print ehon (picture books) has been a kind of correspondance course across the centuries, and I'll always return to them to learn, reproduce prints and to seek out endless pleasure and inspiration. There really is nothing to compare to these humble looking little books in the West. Here, there has always been some kind of mental block to the idea of a book which is completely devoid of words. It's an alien concept to most people, sadly.
I'm sure the Japanese influence will still be visible in my new prints too though. As other European and American printmakers and artists discovered towards the end of the 19th and start of the 20th Century, once you've exposed yourself to the amazing breadth, vibrancy, energy and quality of Japanese woodblock print images it's impossible to see the world around you in the same way again. A bit like looking at the sun too long, but it a really good way.

Before that though, I need to print up my Grace Prints. The blocks are waiting, the proofs are done. I just need to set aside a day or two to print the edition.

Friday, 13 November 2009

What's all this stuff?

Regular visitors to my blog may have noticed a few Amazon gadgets appearing. I hope you don't mind.
I've decided to add these to help all the people who email me to ask about what animation or woodblock printing reference books I would recommend.
At the top of the page are a range of really good and easily available books on woodblocks, and at the botton of the page is a slideshow of animation books, DVDs and CDs which I'd recommend to anyone wanting to learn how to animate. These are all items which I own personally and feel should be a part of any animator's or woodblock printmaker's library.
There are also more obscure, and out of print books which I would also recommend, but the ones I've highlighted are a great start.
I'll be updating my choices as new books appear, so keep checking in.